Productivity: How to Improve Your Daily Output
We all want to be the most productive people throughout our days. Every day, we have many tasks, chores, and objectives to achieve and complete. By getting them done quickly and efficiently, we can free up our evenings and/or weekends for other activities. Being productive can be easy if you follow a few simple rules. A good routine is one of the most powerful tools available to you for productivity.
Be sure to wake up at a reasonable time. Many people suggest waking up early in the morning to avoid all of the early distractions. You can still wake up early and get a full night of sleep. Go to bed earlier, like 10pm, and then you can get up at 6 with no problem! By being up early, you will usually be up before everyone else, and can focus on your routine. This should include a healthy breakfast (very important!), some exercise, and some sort of mental preparation for the day. I like to listen to podcasts, my favorite DJ personality, and motivational speeches. If you have something that you are trying to learn, watch or read a little about it to get your brain primed for later when you focus in on that.
Getting some sort of exercise in the morning is crucial to getting your blood flowing and getting a good start to your day. I suggest a quick run in the morning, and if you are someone who is an athlete, perhaps a quick lift. This gets your blood flowing and helps wake you up physically and mentally, as well as keep your body in great shape! I suggest exercising for about a half hour, but if you can only get 15 minutes to work out, do so wisely and efficiently. By getting your heart rate up, you will also get blood flowing to your brain and feel more alert mentally.
Make a Plan
Having a productive day starts the day before. Before you go to bed, write down any major goals that you want to complete the next day. Then, in the morning, you will have a basic plan for what needs to be done. Be sure to break down major goals into smaller, more manageable tasks. By breaking down large goals, achieving small victories as you complete the small tasks add up and before you know it, the major goal is done. I like to write down a rough schedule of my day if I know I have an important task to achieve. By having the day written out, I won’t have to stress about small decisions like where I will eat lunch, or if I want to work out after work. I can then use the energy that would have gone to planning, to focus in on achieving my goals.
When making your plan, be sure to prioritize. If you have a task that is time sensitive, get that done first. Always get the important tasks done first, and save the remedial tasks for down time. When choosing which tasks are the most important, ask yourself “If I can only get one thing done on this list today, what will it be?” Make that the top priority for your day, and break it down into smaller tasks. After that, do the same thing until you have a solid 5 goals. Even if you only get 3 out of 5 tasks done, you have still made substantial progress. The tasks you don’t complete should then move up the list to the top. Once you finish the major goals, you then can knock out the smaller tasks.
After you make a list of your top goals for the day and work through them, you will inevitably hit a”wall”. In order to avoid this as much s possible, make sure you take breaks as needed. Some people like to block off specific times in the day that they will not work, while others such as myself, choose to take breaks as needed. There is nothing wrong with stepping away from your project for a few minutes while you gather your thoughts, and get ready to take another crack at your goal. Sometimes things happen that are out of your control that affect your schedule. During this, take time to relax and breathe. If you have one on hand, get out your audio books or podcasts while you wait, and keep your mind sharp.
Keep a Journal
A journal is a great way to keep track of your goals and what you have completed. Make a checklist for your day and check off what you finish. At the end of each week, sit down for about a half hour and evaluate what goals you completed and what you need to do for the upcoming week. By having a visual of what you have and have not done, you will find yourself more motivated to check off your list. If you don’t, you will feel disappointed in yourself as you fail to achieve your objectives. Make sure you assess what was productive throughout your week as well as what didn’t work out for you. By doing this, you can organize and eliminate negative behaviors, and re-enforce positive habits.